On August 18, 2022, the UCI ANTrepreneur Center officially announced the launch of its new Self-Starter Micro-Internships Program. Created in partnership with Parker Dewey Micro-Internships, this program will give UCI students and recent graduates the opportunity to gain professional work experience at start-ups and companies by completing short-term projects across a variety of industries.
Parker Dewey is a mission-driven organization dedicated to providing equitable access to professional opportunities. With the stated goal of supporting motivated college students as they launch their careers, Parker Dewey works with higher education institutions throughout the country to establish micro-internship programs and build custom platforms for their campuses. At UCI, Parker Dewey has created a custom portal for the ANTrepreneur Center that will allow students to explore micro-internship opportunities created by a diverse array of start-ups and companies. The new program has been named the Self-Starter Micro-Internships Program.
What are Micro-Internships?
Micro-internships are short-term, paid, professional assignments that are similar to those given to new hires or interns. These projects offer students and recent graduates the opportunity to demonstrate their skills, explore different career paths, and form professional relationships with employers.
Micro-internships typically range from 5 to 40 hours of work, with pay and project deadlines communicated upfront to ensure that students understand the deliverables before applying. Because micro-internships are short-term projects, they are not meant to replace traditional internship programs. Instead, they offer a more flexible solution for students and employers alike. Common micro-internship project categories include content creation, social media content creation, marketing support, graphic design, user-experience testing, website development, CRM lead cleansing, candidate sourcing, market research, sales, job board support, research and data analysis, and more.
For Students and Recent Graduates
“Our Self-Starter Micro-Internships Program is unique because it allows students to gain work experience with start-ups and companies while having the flexibility to branch out and see what it’s like to work in different industries,” says Ryan Foland, Interim Director of the ANTrepreneur Center. “Because these are short-term projects that can usually be completed virtually, students can easily work on projects and get paid without obstacles like transportation or heavy course load impacting their ability to gain valuable internship experience. This program also opens the door for potential career opportunities with start-ups and professional connections with employers. There’s real potential for students to get hired by the start-ups or companies they complete micro-internships for.”
Students and graduates who want to participate in the Self-Starter Micro-Internships Program can get involved by using their UCI email addresses to create an account on the ANTrepreneur Center’s custom portal. Students can then browse available micro-internship opportunities and apply for the ones they are interested in. As previously mentioned, all micro-internships are paid. Students will be paid for completed projects directly through the portal and can elect for payment via direct deposit or physical check. The Self-Starter Micro-Internships Program offers students a layer of security because things like contracts, invoices, and payments are all managed through the program’s portal. This protects students from payment negotiations or potential non-payment.
The program is open to all UCI students, including recent alumni, and the ANTrepreneur Center is launching with 50 students already signed up on the platform! The ANTrepreneur Center also has plans to make micro-internships available for international and undocumented students. More information on this will be available in Winter 2023.
While the Self-Starter Micro-Internships Program was designed to empower students and support their professional development, Foland points out that the program offers significant benefits for companies as well. “Employers that use our platform, including early-stage start-ups, have an easy way to leverage the skills of capable and innovative UCI students, and they can feel good knowing that they have a real impact on the development of student entrepreneurs. As an added bonus, participating in this program is a great way for local and national start-up founders and employers to connect with and recruit UCI students and recent graduates.”
Prospective employers can get involved by creating an account on the ANTrepreneur Center’s custom portal and posting their micro-internship projects. When determining if a project will be an appropriate micro-internship, employers should keep in mind that a college student should be able to complete the project with minimal instruction and no onboarding. Employers also set the price for each project. All projects are fixed-fee, and most are listed between $200-$600 (implying $15-$20 per hour based on estimated hours of work).
Aside from the flexibility of creating their own project deliverables and setting their own price, employers can also enjoy the ease of selecting a micro-internship candidate through the program. Employers can review applications and select the student they want to work with. Once the project is underway, employers can determine how they engage with the micro-intern. While the best micro-internships do not require hands-on management, employers can choose how involved they’d like to be. While most micro-internships are remote, they also have the option for in-person elements.
The Self-Starter Micro-Internships Program is also a powerful tool that can help start-ups and companies can reach a diverse network of qualified candidates and get a foot in the door when it comes to recruiting some of UCI’s best and brightest.
For Student Start-Ups
While it may seem unconventional for a center that focuses on helping students start companies to develop an internship program, Foland points out that the Self-Starter Micro-Internships Program was designed to support student start-ups in several ways:
“We see our program as supporting student entrepreneurs in two key areas. First, micro-internships offer student entrepreneurs an opportunity earn money while practically applying the skills they will need to launch their own companies. This program builds off of the programming the ANTrepreneur Center provides throughout the year to teach students the marketable skills that start-ups need. By teaching students these skills and then giving them opportunities to practice them in a real-world setting, we are preparing students to become successful founders.
Secondly, established student start-ups can create their own micro-internship projects to utilize the skills of other UCI students. Not only is this a cost-effective way to grow their companies, but it also enables student start-ups to connect with talented individuals who may be interested in joining their team.”
Thank you to Our Partners
The Self-Starter Micro-Internships Program launched with ANTrepreneur Center partners UCI Alumni Association, OCtane LaunchPad, University Lab Partners, UCI Beall Applied Innovation, Wayfinder, iBOS Ventures, and OOTify, to name a few.
To learn more about the Self-Starter Micro-Internships Program, visit the portal here.